Microsoft and Fortinet are among four companies financially backing an effort by the World Economic Forum to map cybercriminals’ movements and help pave the way for a sharing of cyber information with law enforcement and businesses worldwide.
Atlas Maps Cybercrime
The Cybercrime Atlas, an initiative to map cybercriminal activities and identify joint public and private responses, will be hosted by the World Economic Forum for the next 2-3 years, officials said. In addition to Fortinet and Microsoft, PayPal, and Banco Santander, a Spanish multinational financial services company ranked as the 16th largest in the world, will also underwrite the project. The four companies will help pay for the secretariat backing the Atlas until it can become an independent platform, officials said.
Global cybercrime fighting is often fragmented and dispersed, but the hope is the Atlas will build on the expertise gained from the Forum’s Partnership against Cybercrime. It is intended to be a platform for cybercrime investigators, national and international law enforcement agencies, and global businesses to share knowledge, generate policy recommendations and identify opportunities for coordinated action to fight cyberthreats.
As Jeremy Jurgens, World Economic Forum managing director, explained:
“The Cybercrime Atlas is a collaborative research initiative that gathers and collates information about the cybercriminal ecosystem and major threat actors operating today. The insights generated will help promote opportunities for greater cooperation between the private sector and law enforcement to address cybercrime.”
13 Cybercime Groups Investigated
The Atlas was first announced at San Francisco’s RSA Conference in June 2022. So far, some 13 cybercriminal groups have been examined by investigators in support of the Atlas.
Commenting on the impact of the Cybercrime Atlas, Brad Smith, Microsoft vice-chair and president, said:
“Cybercriminals work in the shadows and exploit vulnerabilities to inflict devastating attacks. The Cybercrime Atlas provides an important forum that brings the public and private sectors together to share actionable information and leverage cross-sector data, capabilities and expertise, crucial to disrupting cybercrime quickly, and at scale."
Ultimately, the Atlas aims to aid industry, law enforcement and government agencies to disrupt cybercriminals across their ecosystem and infrastructure, said Ken Xie, Fortinet founder, board chairman and chief executive.
“A global and unified effort will make it easier to get beyond the obstacles that shield cybercriminals,” Xie said.